A Shiny New Toy

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My fascination with bridges is pretty well documented. I have a mini project going on in my creative background to photograph bridges (and rivers, boy do I love rivers!).

This weekend I had a nice opportunity to photograph a brand spanking new bridge.

For years, ok pretty much since I moved to the Bay Area, I have railed about the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The western span is a beautiful, elegant suspension bridge while the eastern span is a bunch of clunky tinker toys, better known as a cantilever bridge.

Here’s a photo I took from the upper deck of the tinker toy:



Image Copyright 2010, Karen Fayeth

This part of the bridge is very functional but not very aesthetically pleasing. At least in my personal opinion (others disagree).

You’ll recall that in 1989, this was also the section of the Bay Bridge that collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake.



Image from Wikipedia and used under a Creative Commons license.


If that photo don’t make your heiney pucker, than you have a set of brass nerves that I just don’t have.

In the wake of the 1989 earthquake, planning and work began to replace this span of the Bay Bridge with something more seismically stable. This project was not cheap and it was not simple, but by gum, now some 24 years later the brand spanking new eastern span of the Bay Bridge opened up to the public last night.

Traffic reports this morning were pretty bleak as plenty of people crammed onto the new span for their first ride.

Yesterday The Good Man and I sought to escape the breeze-less heat at our happy home and drove out to the marina near Emeryville, which offers unobstructed views of the City, the bridges and downtown Oakland. I took my camera along as I am part of a photography club and this month’s theme is landscapes.

Here is my semi-artistic view of the new eastern span (to the far left in the photo) and how it blends is perfectly with the existing buildings and landscape of the San Francisco city line (that’s the top of the iconic Transamerica building just to the right of the new bridge).

At first I was no fan of the white paint on the new span, but now I’ve come to love it. This new suspension bridge really stands out against the backdrop and claims its own place in Bay Area history.



Image Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth


Hard to tell from this photo, but there are no cars on the deck of the bridge. Who knows how many years will pass before we see that again!

And while I’m excited to the point of hyperactivity about this gorgeous new suspension bridge and looking forward to seeing it every day as I drive to work, I find something curious is happening.

The news reports say that the moment the new bridge is up and running, the old eastern span will be dismantled. The pieces will come out in the reverse order they went in and much of the metal will be sold for scrap. This makes me a bit sad. It seems that ugly ol’ bridge found a way into my heart. Those 1934 era tinker toys now mean something to me, and I’m more than sad to see them go.

In the wake of this shiny new toy, that unseismically sound bridge now seems awfully lovely. In the many months I commuted to the east bay across the Bay Bridge (before I made the big move), I learned to love the forgotten little sister to the Golden Gate bridge.

Sure am going to miss one half of my old chum, even as I welcome this safer new span.

I’m glad the Bay Bridge is having a much deserved moment in the sun.





Image of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge, Copyright 2010, Karen Fayeth. Image of new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth. Both images subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page. Old span taken with an iPhone and the Camera+ app, new span taken with a Canon Rebel and fixed up a bit in Photoshop.




Functional. Alien. Beautiful.

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My new commute is bringing me lots of new things to look at and new sights I’ve either not seen before or haven’t seen in a real long time.

I’m starting to figure out which side of the train to sit on to take in some of the coolest views on the journey.

One of my favorite parts of the ride is emerging from the tunnel on the Oakland side. Now, Oakland gets such a bad rap, but I find much of Oakland quite beautiful. (No city is 100% beautiful)

In fact, going home each night, I love to sit on the left side of BART so I can take in some gorgeous sunsets over the Port of Oakland.

Here is a photo I snapped with my iPhone from a moving train:




Image Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page.



I love this photo. What you are seeing here are the shipping container cranes at the Oakland docks. Often compared to At-Ats, I think these are some of the most fascinating machinery I’ve ever seen.

I recall when the first of these cranes were purchased several years ago. They came in on a ship from Asia and were so huge, there was much worry about bringing them in under the both the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. One big wave swell would have spelled millions in damages. They made it through safely and now many more have come to take their place, revolutionizing how Oakland moves cargo.

This is how you get your stuff, man! Pretty cool.

These cranes make fast work of unloading big metal boxes of goods from the incoming freighter ships. Every morning through the BART windows I see eighteen wheelers lined up ready to get their payload so they can haul it off to the four corners of the state and country.

The Port of Oakland is the fourth busiest container port in the U.S. Their efficiency is amazing.

And those big beautiful industrial pieces of equipment are fascinating. When silhouetted against the setting sun they are so alien and yes, so incredibly gorgeous.

They are modern and very functional art.